Home > Articles > Business & Management

  • Print
  • + Share This
This chapter is from the book

How This Book Came About

I have had the good fortune to provide communication workshops and related services to Marines continuously since 1991, just after the first Gulf War ended. I had published an article that summer in Public Relations Quarterly noting that the U.S. military had embraced the principles of Carl von Clausewitz both in its execution of the Gulf War and in its public affairs operations to support the war. Clausewitz, the 19th-century Prussian general, is the author of On War, one of the most influential books of Western civilization and the basis of most modern military and business strategy. In my article, I noted that any serious student of strategy or communication should be familiar with the principles of Clausewitz. His most famous principle is that war is merely the continuation of policy by other means: The goal of the war is not to fight, but to accomplish a political objective.5 I argued that professional communicators could learn from him. I translated Clausewitz’s principle as follows: Communication is merely the continuation of business by other means. The goal of communication is not to communicate, but to accomplish some tangible business goal.

When the Public Relations Quarterly article came out, I was in my fourth year teaching public relations strategy and related topics at New York University, and Clausewitz was a big part of my course. Unbeknownst to me, one of my students was a Marine, just back from Iraq, and about to switch jobs: from helicopter pilot to public affairs officer. He had taken my course to get a head start. He asked if he could show my article to his commanding officer. At the same time, my friend Jim Lukaszewski had a scheduling conflict and was unable to teach his usual session at the Marines’ annual East Coast Commanders Pubic Affairs Symposium, an annual weeklong introduction to public affairs for all Marines east of the Mississippi who are starting new commands. He recommended me to the commanding officer of the unit that managed the Symposium, who recognized my name from the article. I have taught at that Symposium every year since. For many of those years I taught on a Tuesday and Jim taught on a Thursday. I have also taught at every West Coast Commanders Public Affairs Symposium since 2006. From 2004 to 2009, I taught in the Brigadier General Select Orientation Course in Washington, and for several years I conducted workshops in the Command and Staff College and Officer Candidate School in Quantico, Virginia.

In 2006, I was teaching in Quantico and visited the Marine Corps bookstore. There I found a slim volume called Warfighting: U.S. Marine Corps Doctrinal Publication No. 1. It’s required reading for every Marine. It lays out an approach to strategy and leadership that informs what all Marines do. Think of it as the Marine Corps Bible. While it isn’t as famous as Clausewitz, it has several advantages: It is contemporary, it is assigned reading for every Marine, and it is much easier to read.

Flying home on the shuttle, I couldn’t put the book down. Just as I had demonstrated in my article for Public Relations Quarterly that changing several words in Clausewitz’s On War provided a framework for understanding communication, changing just a few words in Warfighting led to a much richer and deeper understanding of effective public communication, both for leaders and for those who advise them.

Then I had an idea. I was about to teach a new course on communication strategy in the MS in Public Relations and Corporate Communication program at New York University. I had already decided to assign Clausewitz on Strategy: Inspiration and Insight from a Master Strategist. The authors, from the Strategy Institute of the Boston Consulting Group, extract the essence of On War and apply it to contemporary business strategy.

I decided to supplement that reading with Warfighting, requiring students to read it before the first class. When I sent the syllabus to the department, it raised a few eyebrows. But to his credit, the academic director gave me the green light, and I posted the syllabus online.

In the first class, before discussing the book, I polled the students:

  • How many were confused when they saw that the first book in a communication strategy course was a Marine Corps book called Warfighting? Nearly every hand went up.
  • How many were concerned? Most hands stayed up.
  • How many were angry? About a third of the hands stayed up.
  • How many are still angry after reading the book? All hands came down.

I found the most counterculture-seeming student who had just put her hand down, and asked, “Why were you angry when you saw the syllabus?” She looked me in the eye and said, “I thought you were going to feed us propaganda, try to get us to like the military, to support the war in Iraq.” And now? She smiled, and said, “I love this book. I have given copies to my parents and friends. I want to know why we don’t know more about this book.”

I’ve used Warfighting continuously ever since. And I’ve used it beyond my NYU classroom. I’ve used it in strategy boot camps for the public affairs department of a major insurance company, with the communication staff of a large pharmaceutical company, and even with clergy and not-for-profit executives, sometimes to their initial discomfort. I’ve urged individual CEOs, CFOs, and other corporate leaders to read it to help them both think strategically and communicate effectively.

In all civilian contexts, my students and clients have enthusiastically embraced Warfighting, and the comments have tended to cluster into these three categories:

  1. This is one of the single-most-useful insights into how to be strategic in communication that I’ve ever read.
  2. I never knew the Marines were so thoughtful.
  3. The lessons of Warfighting go well beyond fighting wars or communicating. The book is about how to think strategically. It deserves a broader audience.

I agree. I believe that Warfighting is one of the undiscovered gems in strategic thinking, with significant civilian application. This book attempts to do for Warfighting what Clausewitz on Strategy does for On War: extract the essence of a military manual and apply those essential lessons to the nonmilitary, professional practice of public communication as a leadership discipline.

  • + Share This
  • 🔖 Save To Your Account

InformIT Promotional Mailings & Special Offers

I would like to receive exclusive offers and hear about products from InformIT and its family of brands. I can unsubscribe at any time.

Overview


Pearson Education, Inc., 221 River Street, Hoboken, New Jersey 07030, (Pearson) presents this site to provide information about products and services that can be purchased through this site.

This privacy notice provides an overview of our commitment to privacy and describes how we collect, protect, use and share personal information collected through this site. Please note that other Pearson websites and online products and services have their own separate privacy policies.

Collection and Use of Information


To conduct business and deliver products and services, Pearson collects and uses personal information in several ways in connection with this site, including:

Questions and Inquiries

For inquiries and questions, we collect the inquiry or question, together with name, contact details (email address, phone number and mailing address) and any other additional information voluntarily submitted to us through a Contact Us form or an email. We use this information to address the inquiry and respond to the question.

Online Store

For orders and purchases placed through our online store on this site, we collect order details, name, institution name and address (if applicable), email address, phone number, shipping and billing addresses, credit/debit card information, shipping options and any instructions. We use this information to complete transactions, fulfill orders, communicate with individuals placing orders or visiting the online store, and for related purposes.

Surveys

Pearson may offer opportunities to provide feedback or participate in surveys, including surveys evaluating Pearson products, services or sites. Participation is voluntary. Pearson collects information requested in the survey questions and uses the information to evaluate, support, maintain and improve products, services or sites, develop new products and services, conduct educational research and for other purposes specified in the survey.

Contests and Drawings

Occasionally, we may sponsor a contest or drawing. Participation is optional. Pearson collects name, contact information and other information specified on the entry form for the contest or drawing to conduct the contest or drawing. Pearson may collect additional personal information from the winners of a contest or drawing in order to award the prize and for tax reporting purposes, as required by law.

Newsletters

If you have elected to receive email newsletters or promotional mailings and special offers but want to unsubscribe, simply email information@informit.com.

Service Announcements

On rare occasions it is necessary to send out a strictly service related announcement. For instance, if our service is temporarily suspended for maintenance we might send users an email. Generally, users may not opt-out of these communications, though they can deactivate their account information. However, these communications are not promotional in nature.

Customer Service

We communicate with users on a regular basis to provide requested services and in regard to issues relating to their account we reply via email or phone in accordance with the users' wishes when a user submits their information through our Contact Us form.

Other Collection and Use of Information


Application and System Logs

Pearson automatically collects log data to help ensure the delivery, availability and security of this site. Log data may include technical information about how a user or visitor connected to this site, such as browser type, type of computer/device, operating system, internet service provider and IP address. We use this information for support purposes and to monitor the health of the site, identify problems, improve service, detect unauthorized access and fraudulent activity, prevent and respond to security incidents and appropriately scale computing resources.

Web Analytics

Pearson may use third party web trend analytical services, including Google Analytics, to collect visitor information, such as IP addresses, browser types, referring pages, pages visited and time spent on a particular site. While these analytical services collect and report information on an anonymous basis, they may use cookies to gather web trend information. The information gathered may enable Pearson (but not the third party web trend services) to link information with application and system log data. Pearson uses this information for system administration and to identify problems, improve service, detect unauthorized access and fraudulent activity, prevent and respond to security incidents, appropriately scale computing resources and otherwise support and deliver this site and its services.

Cookies and Related Technologies

This site uses cookies and similar technologies to personalize content, measure traffic patterns, control security, track use and access of information on this site, and provide interest-based messages and advertising. Users can manage and block the use of cookies through their browser. Disabling or blocking certain cookies may limit the functionality of this site.

Do Not Track

This site currently does not respond to Do Not Track signals.

Security


Pearson uses appropriate physical, administrative and technical security measures to protect personal information from unauthorized access, use and disclosure.

Children


This site is not directed to children under the age of 13.

Marketing


Pearson may send or direct marketing communications to users, provided that

  • Pearson will not use personal information collected or processed as a K-12 school service provider for the purpose of directed or targeted advertising.
  • Such marketing is consistent with applicable law and Pearson's legal obligations.
  • Pearson will not knowingly direct or send marketing communications to an individual who has expressed a preference not to receive marketing.
  • Where required by applicable law, express or implied consent to marketing exists and has not been withdrawn.

Pearson may provide personal information to a third party service provider on a restricted basis to provide marketing solely on behalf of Pearson or an affiliate or customer for whom Pearson is a service provider. Marketing preferences may be changed at any time.

Correcting/Updating Personal Information


If a user's personally identifiable information changes (such as your postal address or email address), we provide a way to correct or update that user's personal data provided to us. This can be done on the Account page. If a user no longer desires our service and desires to delete his or her account, please contact us at customer-service@informit.com and we will process the deletion of a user's account.

Choice/Opt-out


Users can always make an informed choice as to whether they should proceed with certain services offered by InformIT. If you choose to remove yourself from our mailing list(s) simply visit the following page and uncheck any communication you no longer want to receive: www.informit.com/u.aspx.

Sale of Personal Information


Pearson does not rent or sell personal information in exchange for any payment of money.

While Pearson does not sell personal information, as defined in Nevada law, Nevada residents may email a request for no sale of their personal information to NevadaDesignatedRequest@pearson.com.

Supplemental Privacy Statement for California Residents


California residents should read our Supplemental privacy statement for California residents in conjunction with this Privacy Notice. The Supplemental privacy statement for California residents explains Pearson's commitment to comply with California law and applies to personal information of California residents collected in connection with this site and the Services.

Sharing and Disclosure


Pearson may disclose personal information, as follows:

  • As required by law.
  • With the consent of the individual (or their parent, if the individual is a minor)
  • In response to a subpoena, court order or legal process, to the extent permitted or required by law
  • To protect the security and safety of individuals, data, assets and systems, consistent with applicable law
  • In connection the sale, joint venture or other transfer of some or all of its company or assets, subject to the provisions of this Privacy Notice
  • To investigate or address actual or suspected fraud or other illegal activities
  • To exercise its legal rights, including enforcement of the Terms of Use for this site or another contract
  • To affiliated Pearson companies and other companies and organizations who perform work for Pearson and are obligated to protect the privacy of personal information consistent with this Privacy Notice
  • To a school, organization, company or government agency, where Pearson collects or processes the personal information in a school setting or on behalf of such organization, company or government agency.

Links


This web site contains links to other sites. Please be aware that we are not responsible for the privacy practices of such other sites. We encourage our users to be aware when they leave our site and to read the privacy statements of each and every web site that collects Personal Information. This privacy statement applies solely to information collected by this web site.

Requests and Contact


Please contact us about this Privacy Notice or if you have any requests or questions relating to the privacy of your personal information.

Changes to this Privacy Notice


We may revise this Privacy Notice through an updated posting. We will identify the effective date of the revision in the posting. Often, updates are made to provide greater clarity or to comply with changes in regulatory requirements. If the updates involve material changes to the collection, protection, use or disclosure of Personal Information, Pearson will provide notice of the change through a conspicuous notice on this site or other appropriate way. Continued use of the site after the effective date of a posted revision evidences acceptance. Please contact us if you have questions or concerns about the Privacy Notice or any objection to any revisions.

Last Update: November 17, 2020